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A month after mudslide, Md. 550 near Thurmont remains closed

Slope near highway remains unstable

May 17, 2011|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com

THURMONT, Md. — Md. 550 (Sabillasville Road) has now been closed for a month in Thurmont between Eylers Valley Flint Road and Kelbaugh Road after a mudslide that occurred in mid-April.

However, Geoff McCammon of the Maryland State Highway Administration in Frederick, Md., says that work crews are making progress.

"Last week we began installing drain pipes to help with some of the water on the slope," he said. "We hope to be finished installing the pipes this week."

McCammon said that after the drainage systems are put in place and the slope dries, they can evaluate whether or not to open the road to at least one lane.

"There is no guarantee of when we will be able to reopen it," he said. "However, we have already started exploring a permanent fix to the problem."

McCammon said that a major reason that there is no time frame for when the road can reopen is because work on it is weather dependent. Rain has kept the slope loose, and he said it needs to be dry before they can stabilize it.

"We understand the inconvenience this has caused some people who usually take this road, and we appreciate their patience," he said. "But our priority is to ensure drivers' safety when on this road, and our engineers have evaluated that the slope is still unstable."

A detour has been set up for drivers to take Md. 77 for 10 miles to Foxville-Deerfield Road.

The mudslide occurred April 17, following several days of heavy rain and storms.

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